A gargoyle-type rock perches above the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park.
I have a weakness for gargoyles. Their grotesque features appeal to my sense of humor. Or is that warped sense of humor? Whether I am touring a medieval cathedral or visiting Gotham City, they leap out and capture my imagination. Thus I was delighted when I came across a gargoyle-type rock hanging out above Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands is where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet. The down-cutting erosive power of these two rivers combined with the uplift of the Colorado Plateau and six million years of time are responsible for the breathtaking multitude of canyons and rock formations found in the Park.
A trip out the park road to Island in the Sky provides views of both basins and other prominent park features. A detour to Dead Horse Point State Park off of the main road shows the Colorado River doubling back and almost meeting itself in a major meander known as the Gooseneck.
The Colorado River winds around and almost meets itself at Gooseneck. This photo is taken from Dead Horse State Park and is looking down into Canyonlands.
Flowers, twisted juniper trees, wildlife and distant mountains add to the scenery.
Both Canyonlands and Arches National Park are easy day trips out of Moab in southeastern Utah. Sego Canyon with its fascinating examples of Indian rock art that I blogged about recently is also within easy driving distance.
One of the Southwest’s best known Indian rock art sites, Newspaper Rock, is located on the southern road into Canyonlands National Park. I will feature the site in my next blog.
Finger like canyons working downward to the Colorado River gradually cut away at the harder rock of White Mesa. This picture is taken from Grand View Point at the end of Island in the Sky Mesa. The maze-like canyons that disappear into the distance provide multiple reasons for the Parks name.
Flowers, like this Indian Paintbrush, add a dash of color to Canyonlands.
Junipers, even young ones, tend to look old, but this guy has obviously been around for a while.
Raven has a special place in Native American lore. His tricky ways, croaky voice, and ability to survive in extreme conditions give him a special position in the bird kingdom.
Spring is sprung but this young buck is still wearing his winter coat. While it may not be the height of fashion, it’s warm.
Distant snow-covered mountains, multi-colored rock cliffs, deep canyons and picturesque trees are all part of the Canyonlands National Park scenery.
It is easy to lose yourself in the vast open spaces of the Southwest. My wife Peggy and Cloud prove the point.
The semi-arid climate, erosive forces of nature, and geology of Canyonlands National Park and the Southwest combine to create unique natural sculptures.
If my memory serves me correctly, these two sculptures are called the Beehives.
This massive monument of sandstone greets visitors at the north entrance to Canyonlands National Park.